Icopal Noxite actively purifies harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) particles from the air

Icopal’s Noxite Improves Air Quality At Lancashire Primary School


Environmental strategies are becoming more commonplace within educational establishments with many not only looking to increase a building’s efficiency but to also reduce carbon emissions. Here, Phil Singleton of Icopal looks at how Icopal’s Noxite system is doing just this at Holcombe Brook Primary School in Bury, Lancashire.

Holcombe Brook Primary School has installed over 1,200m² of Icopal’s de-polluting waterproofing membrane, Noxite, as part of a large-scale roof refurbishment. Noxite actively purifies harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) molecules from the air, meaning the work not only upgraded the fabric of the building - but also positively contributed to the air quality of the surrounding environment.

The old roof was showing serious signs of ageing, including splitting due to sustained water ingress, severe ponding and vegetation growth as well as exposed edge details, which highlighted rotting timbers. With costly repair bills racking up and weakened timbers a serious health and safety concern, it was inevitable that it was time for a roofing system upgrade.

The Head Teacher at Holcombe Brook School and the Eco-School Action Team, which includes pupils at the school, worked in unison with Keith Berry, a building surveyor with the architectural service of Bury Council, and Icopal to achieve the most environmentally efficient upgrade to the roof as possible. The new bituminous roofing system, designed by Icopal, was built up of a number of membranes including Total Torch, designed to control the passage of any water vapour through the roof structure, Thermazone TorchTop insulation boards and Icopal’s ground-breaking capsheet, Noxite.

Head teacher, Gill Evans said: “We are very pleased with the outcome that Icopal has provided for us here at Holcombe Brook. We were keen to realign our green image and lower our carbon footprint. When taking on the huge task of a roofing upgrade, it was essential that the solution would contribute to this. After reviewing various proposals, Icopal’s Noxite system was an easy choice for us, enabling the roof to give back to the environment for its entire lifetime.”

Following installation of the green technologies at Holcombe Brook, which was undertaken by D Shawcross Roofing, members of the Eco-School Action Team, represented by pupils of the school, gave a presentation outlining the initiatives, which has helped the school to achieve the prestigious environmental Green Flag Award.

Investing in Icopal’s Noxite membrane not only helps reduce the environmental impact of the school buildings over their entire lifetime in a way that is socially and economically responsible and environmentally sustainable but also makes a positive contribution to the environment with regards to air pollution.

When UV radiation from the sun hits the Noxite membrane, the titanium dioxide on the protective mineral slates, acts as a catalyst, breaking down the damaging pollution of nitrogen oxides in the air into harmless nitrates, cleaning the air and providing a healthier environment. Annually, a Noxite covered roof of 1000m² is capable of neutralising 52 million m3 of polluted air, with larger coverings capable of even higher levels of neutralisation.

The installation team at Holcombe Brook faced several challenges during the various phases of the new roof. Timescale was a concern and it was agreed that the works would commence in specific phases prior to the school closing for the summer holidays to allow the relocation of the pupils and the restriction of areas during break times.

The old roofing build up also had to be completely stripped, including the deck. With a new deck to be fitted prior to the installation of the new waterproofing system, this created a risk that the wind and rain could penetrate into the internal areas of the school. In answer to this, arrangements were made for a canopy to be installed above the areas of roof that were to be worked on, which provided protection from the elements, for the roof installers and the school below and enable works to continue even during bad weather.

Internal investigations of the old roof also highlighted that a suspended ceiling was blocking the light entering the building from several roof lights. To further enhance overall energy efficiency, new roof lights, supplied by Icopal, were installed into a barrel-vaulted atrium, allowing the school to reduce dependency on internal lighting, and so reduce electricity costs.

Educational establishments are becoming far more aware not only of their duty to reduce their environmental impact but also the importance of actually making a positive contribution to the environment. Noxite is a great example of how this can be achieved with regards to air pollution, making the system a long-term investment for building owners.

Holcombe Brook Primary School

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